One of the popular things on a lot of tour groups “to do” lists are the Katoey shows. Katoeys are men who dress, act like and in some cases have been surgically altered to be like women. It was also one of the things on my wife’s “to do” list. There are a number of shows throughout Bangkok, this particular one was at a high end hotel.

The Katoey Show

 

tom tweedel Tom Tweedel is a good friend with significant experience in China and has self-published several interesting volumes of his travels in China complete with many great images and informative narrative.  Last year he visited Thailand for the first time and I had a great time showing him around the area.  Somehow he found time to put together a like 364 page book of his travels around Thailand!

When Tom agreed to become part of our small select product review team I was both excited and grateful.  I hope you enjoy this and future reviews by Tom.  For those whose plans include extended travel in Thailand and China I’d recommend contacting Tom and inquiring into obtaining copies of his books.  Tom Tweedel is an Austin, TX based photographer and can be reached at: tomsds@austin.rr.com

 

One of the popular things on a lot of tour groups “to do” lists are the Katoey shows. Katoeys are men who dress, act like and in some cases have been surgically altered to be like women. It was also one of the things on my wife’s “to do” list. There are a number of shows throughout Bangkok, this particular one was at a high end hotel.

 

The show was a cabaret style variety show with many different acts.

The Opening Act

 

The show was a cabaret style variety show with many different acts. The opening act was Vegas style with lots of sequins, feathers and legs.

 

The show was clearly for tourists. The majority of them were middle aged women from Europe and Korea. I
The Audience

 

The show was clearly for tourists. The majority of them were middle aged women from Europe and Korea. I doubt many locals would go to the show as it was outrageously expensive by local standards (1200 baht / $36US).

 

A recurring act in the show was to have a lone Katoey, dressed in formal evening wear come up and sing a solo.

Singing

 

A recurring act in the show was to have a lone Katoey, dressed in formal evening wear come up and sing a solo. They didn’t really sing, they just lip synced to some famous western singer.

 

To appeal to the international nature of their audience they had different acts in different languages. English, American, French, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Thai.

The Korean Act

 

To appeal to the international nature of their audience they had different acts in different languages. English, American, French, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Thai. This was the Korean act where the cast got dressed up in Traditional Korean outfits and lip synced to a Korean song.

 

American looking Thai Katoey

The American Act

 

Blonde hair and a faster beat.

 

This act seem to involve the entire cast getting up there and singing and dancing.

The Whole Cast

 

This act seem to involve the entire cast getting up there and singing and dancing.

 

  The show wasn’t entirely made of Katoeys. They had a number of non-emasculated men up

Not all Katoey Action

 

The show wasn’t entirely made of Katoeys. They had a number of non-emasculated men up there in supporting roles.

 

This act was something about gangsters, a bad boy and his bride.

The Chinese Act

 

This act was something about gangsters, a bad boy and his bride.

 

The Ethnic Thai themed act had a singer in a fairly fearsome outfit singing in Thai.
The Thai Act

 

The Ethnic Thai themed act had a singer in a fairly fearsome outfit singing in Thai.

 

They had a lone singer in red giving an emotional looking solo performance.
The French Act

 

They had a lone singer in red giving an emotional looking solo performance.

 

Katoey is delicate and beautiful

Polynesian Theme

 

I don’t know what this act was about but the Katoey being carried around was amazingly delicate and feminine.

 

This act had some guys really showing their legs.

Legs

 

This act had some guys really showing their legs.

 

Katoey's showing off their legs

The Central American Fruit Dance

 

For lack of better explanation this act seemed to be an homage to the Chiquita Lady.

 

Katoey Chiquita Lady?

Shake Em Boys

 

At times it was hard to believe that it was nothing but guys up there on stage.

 

Katoey's lined up on stage

Meet the Cast

 

After the show they cast lined up against the back wall for a meet and greet.

 

After the Katoey Show they make themselves available

Some of the Cast Close Up

 

You had a variety of different looks here. Some were easy to tell, some not so easy.

 

some katoey's are easy to tell, some not so easy

Close Up

 

A close up of three Katoeys my wife was particularly interested in.

 

 

They katoeys looked just like women!

Hard to Tell

 

After the show when we were leaving the hotel we ran into a few of them (including the one in the middle). In the street lights they looked just like women to the average glance. If we hadn’t just seen them on stage we wouldn’t have thought anything of it. That should be a word of warning to guys who are drunk in a dimly lit bar..

 

The star of the katoey show, Bangkok Thailand

Star of the Show

 

For some reason this performer was the “star” of the show. He was in more of the acts and was the lead on many of them. Maybe because he could dance?